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Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (1469-1527) was arguably the most significant political thinker the the Renaissance period.

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His best-known work, Il Principle (‘The Prince’), later on led to his name becoming synonymous v ruthless political machinations.

To this day, the hatchet “Machiavellian” connotes politics deceit, scheming and also unscrupulousness.

Here space 10 facts around him.

1. He lived during a time of political turmoil

Machiavelli to be born top top 3 might 1469 in Florence before becoming a senior official in the Florentine Republic.

From 1487 he began working under a banker, till in 1498 that was called the chancellor and also the chief executive officer that the federal government of Florence.

As chancellor, he had actually responsibilities in diplomatic and also military affairs throughout an era the tumultuous political tragedy.


French troops under Charles VIII beginning Florence by Francesco Granacci (Credit: publicly domain).


In 1494, Italy was invaded by King Charles VIII the France and also then later by Spain and also Austria, result in nearly 400 years of preeminence by outsiders.

Machiavelli’s thinking was characterized by this upheaval. It to be his dream the the separated Italian city-states would unite under a strong leader to accomplish its threats on same terms.

2. He worked with Leonardo da Vinci

As a an elderly government official, Machiavelli supplied his powers to commission Leonardo da Vinci and also appointed that Florence’s armed forces engineer in 1502.

Leonardo left his post only 8 months after, but it is believed that the two “seem to have end up being intimate” once they to be both in Florence.


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A painting of Leonardo da Vinci by Francesco Melzi


Some historians think their relationship had a significant influence top top Machiavelli’s political thinking. His writings appear to be rife with idiosyncratic expressions from Leonardo’s notebooks.

3. He to be an foe of the powerful Medici family

The Medici household – who were the de facto rulers the Florence – play a main role to machiavelli life and works.

When the Medicis were ousted indigenous the city in 1494, machiavelli’s primary issue was your potential return.

To save them at bay, he supervised the recruitment and also training that an main Florentine militia. But his army was no enhance for the Medicis, that were supported by Rome’s papal forces.


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Machiavelli dedicated ‘The Prince’ to Lorenzo de’ Medici, illustrated here by Giorgio Vasari (Credit: Uffizi Gallery).


When the residence of Medici retook Florence in 1512, Machiavelli to be deprived the office and also imprisoned under conspiracy charges.

While in jail, he was based on torture through the strappado – whereby a prisoner would be hung by his wrists behind his back, and then suddenly dropped in the direction of the floor, dislocating the shoulders and also tearing the muscles.

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4. He composed ‘The Prince’ to regain his lost status

After losing his task as a diplomat, Machiavelli strove to victory the favour that the Medicis.

He retired to his estate and turned come scholarship, devoting his time to researching the ancient Roman philosophers. By the finish of 1513, he had actually completed the very first version the the political writing that he would become known for.

Initially, Machiavelli specialized ‘The Prince’ come Giuliano de’ Medici, however Giuliano passed away in 1516. The book was subsequently specialized to the younger Lorenzo di Piero de’ Medici, nephew of Lorenzo the Magnificent.

Machiavelli did no live to watch if that succeeded; ‘The Prince’ was published in 1532, 5 years after his death at the period of 58.


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Engraved portrait of Machiavelli, from the Peace royal residence Library’s Il Principe (Credit: public domain).


5. ‘The Prince’ is based upon Cesare Borgia

The surname Borgia is synonymous with decadence, treachery and also ruthlessness – most exemplified by the daring and bloodthirsty Cesare Borgia (1475-1507).

The illegitimate son of Pope Alexander VI, Borgia functioned to carve out what that hoped would be a kingdom for himself that would rival Venice and also Naples.


Cesare Borgia, as shown in ‘Portrait that Gentleman’ through Altobello Melone (Credit: Accademia Carrara).


His ambitions and actions attracted the an alert of Machiavelli, who invested time as an emissary in Borgia’s court, and who would write lengthy reports around him.

Many historians think about Borgia to be the motivation for ‘The Prince’. Machiavelli admired Borgia’s daring, treachery and effectiveness in comparison to the frustratingly slow and prudent Florentine republic.

6. Machiavelli was no amoral himself


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Statue of nicole Macchiavelli by Lorenzo Bartolini (Credit: Jerbulon / CC).


‘The Prince’ may have acquired notoriety for its ruthlessness, but Machiavelli thought in a simply government. As a civil servant, he had been one of the republic’s staunchest defenders.

Although his treatise openly urged politicians to cheat, bribe, threaten and even kill if necessary, he identified that there is no respect because that justice, society would collapse right into chaos.

7. ‘The Prince’ to be only among his works


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Cover page of 1550 edition of machiavelli’s Il Principe.


Besides ‘The Prince’, Machiavelli likewise wrote treatises ~ above ‘The Discourses ~ above Livy’, ‘The arts of War’ and ‘Florentine Histories’.

Apart from gift a novelist, the was also a translator, poet, playwright and also wrote comedies and also carnival songs.

His poems included ‘Decennale Primo’ and also ‘Decennale Secondo’ and he penned the satirical play La Mandragola (‘The Mandrake’).

8. It to be banned by the Pope

Although copies of ‘The Prince’ had been circulated amongst Machiavelli’s friends, it to be not released until after ~ his death, v the permission the Pope Clement VII.

The papacy’s perspective towards his job-related soon chilled and also it was condemned by both the Catholic and also Protestant churches.

In 1557, once Pope Paul IV developed Rome’s an initial Index Librorum Prohibitorum (‘Index of Forbidden Books’), that made certain to incorporate ‘The Prince’ for its encouragement of political and also moral corruption.

9. He ended up being a theatrical share character of evil

By the 16th century, Machiavelli’s name had uncovered itself in the English language together an epithet for crookedness.

In Elizabethan theatre, it involved denote a dramatic type: the incorrigible schemer pushed by greed and unbridled ambition.

In Christopher Marlowe’s 1589 beat ‘The Jew of Malta’, the character of Machiavel says:

I counting religion but a childish toy, / and also hold there is no sin but ignorance.

In Shakespeare’s 1602 beat ‘The merry Wives the Windsor’, a characters asks:

Am i politic? Am i subtle? Am i a Machiavel?


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10. He is thought about the dad of contemporary political science

Machiavelli’s ideas had a profound affect on politics throughout the west world. After 500 years, his legacy continues in politics life across the world.

‘The Prince’ was accused of having actually inspired Henry VIII’s defiance that the papacy. A copy remained in the possession the the Spanish king and Holy roman inn Emperor Charles V.

It was later blamed for having actually incited Queen Catherine de’ Medici come order the massacre the 2,000 rebel Protestants at the St Bartholomew’s day massacre.


Machiavelli’s tomb in the Santa Croce Church in Florence (Credit: Gryffindor / CC).


He was also said to have straight influenced the establishing fathers the the American Revolution.

Machiavelli was the an initial political writer come separate national politics from morality, placing good emphasis on handy strategies over thoughtful ideas.

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Instead of concentrating on what was right or wrong, he taken into consideration what needs to be achieved.